A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Miniature climate migration camps set up in European capitals to remind them what is at stake.
Hundreds of miniature tents by German artist Hermann Josef Hack have sprung up in Brussels, London, Berlin, Dublin and Madrid today to show EU Heads of State and Government what is at stake should they fail to agree a position on climate financing when they meet in Brussels tomorrow.
Oxfam erected the tents to offer a glimpse of the future if people in poor countries - already suffering the effects of climate change – are not given enough new public money to protect themselves now.
The two-day EU Heads of State and Government Summit is the last chance for them to decide, before the UN climate talks in December kick off, how much money the EU will offer. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will come under particular pressure as their governments have both been accused of blocking an agreement to date. With just five negotiating days left before Copenhagen, a meaningful EU finance offer could rescue European leadership on tackling climate change, and put international talks back on track to success in Copenhagen.
Elise Ford, head of Oxfam International’s EU office, said: “It’s time for EU member states to stop shooting blanks. The EU clearly has the financial firepower to secure a deal at Copenhagen. We need to see a declaration of serious political will from EU leaders, putting concrete numbers for new money on the table, if the world is to remain on target for success in Copenhagen.“
26 million displaced already
An estimated 26 million people have already been displaced as a direct result of climate stresses and each year a million more are displaced by weather-related events. Unpredictable and more extreme weather patterns are already devastating the lives of poor people living on the frontline of climate change: washing away homes, devastating crops through torrential rain or drought and putting health and lives at risk.
“Right now, European leaders are acting as though climate change is not their problem – but climate change knows no borders. Millions more people will be permanently displaced from their homes in the years to come unless rich countries invest in adaptation support in poor countries now,” said Ford. “We will count the costs in lives lost if they do not.”
Oxfam International is calling on Europe, a chief architect of the climate crisis, to deliver an offer €35 billion in new public finance every year to help developing countries cope with the impacts of global warming. This money needs to be additional to existing aid commitments of 0.7% GNI: the EU must not force poor countries to choose between building flood defences and building schools. It also asks leaders to deliver a cut in emissions of at least 40% by 2020 on 1990 levels in line with the science to ensure global warming is kept below 2 degrees, and prevent even greater damage.
“Failing to stump up new money is giving with one hand while taking with the other. An EU finance offer can provide a spark to reignite smoldering international talks – but a pledge simply to re-brand money already promised for development aid would soon snuff that out,” said Ford.
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Watch the slideshow of the tents from around Europe.
Read more about why Oxfam is campaigning on Climate Change.
Notes to editors
Oxfam is pleased to have been working with German artist Hermann Josef Hack who has been using art to communicate the devastating impacts of climate change for many years. More information can be found at www.hermann-josef-hack.de.